Czech Tomas Berdych has decided to skip his country's Davis Cup quarter-final tie against Japan next month. - AFP
PRAGUE (AFP): Defending champions the Czech Republic will be without their number one player Tomas Berdych, the world number six, for the Davis Cup quarter-final tie in Japan on April 4-6, the Czech team said Sunday.
"I understand and respect Tomas's decision" to skip the tie, Czech captain Jaroslav Navratil said on the Czech Davis Cup team's Facebook page.
The 28-year-old Berdych and veteran Radek Stepanek led the Czechs to two straight Davis Cup titles in 2012 and 2013, and to a first-round victory over the Netherlands in February this year.
Czech media quoted Berdych as saying after the Dubai Open final on Saturday that he would skip the whole Davis Cup season, but the Czech team insisted the decision only concerned the Japan tie.
Berdych lost to Roger Federer 6-3, 4-6, 3-6 in the Dubai Open final on Saturday. The defeat ended his 11-match winning streak.
Berdych is an exception among top players who often shun the Davis Cup to focus on their individual careers. He has only missed two ties since he joined the Czech Davis Cup team in 2003.